CORK City Council’s budget will increase by €55 million in 2020.
However, there will be no increases in city parking charges or commercial rates despite council income streams coming “under pressure", according to the city manager.
Councillors will gather this evening at City Hall to discuss the first budget of the enlarged city functional area which now includes Ballincollig, Glanmire, Blarney and all of Douglas following May’s boundary extension.
It has also emerged in the budget that compensation payments the city council must pay to County Hall in order to offset the loss of rates in the areas subsumed into the city have yet to be agreed, almost five and a half months after the boundary extension came into effect. The payments will be made annually over the next decade.
The overall revenue expenditure proposed by City Hall for 2020 is €222,340,900 compared €166,843,900 in 2019. Of the increase, €37,300,000 is attributable to the boundary extension with €18,197,000 being increased spending on the 2019 budget.
An extra €26 million will be generated in commercial rates next year due to the boundary extension. The council will reduce its Annual Rate of Variation (ARV) to allow for equalisation of rates across traditional and new city areas.
City Hall chief executive Ann Doherty described the preparation of the budget as “challenging”.
“The general economic climate and state of the national finances continues to improve. However many of our income sources continue to be under pressure, while increased demand for services in many areas increases the pressure on the city’s finances. The challenge of the budget is to ensure that the council continues to achieve a balanced allocation of resources to ensure that it meets the many competing demands across the social, economic, cultural, environmental and infrastructural development of the city.
“The proposed budget provides a reasonable balance across the competing objectives of developing the social, cultural, economic, environmental and infrastructural needs of the City, in a socially inclusive manner, that Council is charged with progressing,” Ms Doherty added.
There will be no increase in car parking charges in 2020 which remain at €1.70/€2.00/€2.30 for both on-street and off-street parking. The Council’s multi-storey car-parks at Lavitts Quay/Paul Street and Kyrl’s Quay/North Main Street REMAIN the cheapest in the city.
Housing and building expenditure will increase from €48.7 million to €63.8 million.
Roads expenditure will increase from €29.2 million to €43.4 million. As a result of the boundary extension, an additional 550km of roads are now under the administrative area of the city council. A significant portion of the funding for this additional roads network will come from central Government.
City Hall will be employing an additional 207 people as a result of the boundary extension. An assistant chief executive post is being provided for in the 2020 budget, two additional staff for the building control unit and provision has been made for four additional senior executive engineers to deal with capital projects. Almost €80 million will be spent on payroll.